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Books for slowing down

These three books remind you to take a break before you break.

National Reading Movement (@readingnationsg)

Published: 7 May 2021, 6:04 PM

Life is not a race, but it often can feel that way. 

With the things that we deal with day after day – the roles and responsibilities that we take on, the pressure to perform in school or at work, the numerous changes around us that we feel obligated to adapt to quickly – it is no wonder that so many of us are anxious, overwhelmed or exhausted.

Instead of pushing these feelings away as we usually do though, perhaps we could explore being a little gentler with ourselves this May. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you”. 

Prioritising our mental health does not need to involve a grand plan. We can start small, setting aside some time each week to do things that we are likely to feel better after, like taking a 10-minute walk in the park, going to bed an hour earlier, or adopting a plant from the neighbourhood nursery. 

Reading is said to be very helpful too and you can get started with these three books that affirm that ‘it’s okay not to be okay’, while sharing tips and tools for managing those days that are hard to bear. 

“A Sloth’s Guide to Mindfulness” by Ton Mak



“It’s OK to not be productive all the time. It’s OK to pause.”

In A Sloth’s Guide to Mindfulness, an adorable sloth shows us how to slow down and be more present to our bodies and the world. From simple breathing exercises to guided meditations and playful advice on eating and interacting with others, this book is a wonderful reminder to take it easy, because “slow is ok”. 


Borrow the book here: eBook

“The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down” by Haemin Sunim



“We know the world only through the window of our mind. When our mind is noisy, the world is as well. And when our mind is peaceful, the world is, too.”

The hugely popular The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down features bite-sized essays on the human experience, prompting us to consider how we may be kinder with ourselves.

From advice on relationships with loved ones, to ways of coping with overwhelming emotions and life’s disappointments, the book imparts soothing advice on finding our centre amidst our tiredness and anxiety.

Borrow the book here: eBook

“The Art of Rest” by Claudia Hammond



“You need to give yourself permission to rest. How often do you push on when you’re tired instead of allowing yourself a break?”

We hear the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” often, but why then do we still insist on wearing busyness like a badge of honour, pushing ourselves to the edge of a burnout?

The Art of Rest explains why rest matters, and how it is directly linked to our sense of wellbeing. Drawing from ‘The Rest Test’ — the largest global survey on rest — the book lists the top ten activities that people find most restful, and suggests ways to integrate these techniques into our lives for a more restful, balanced life.

Borrow the book here: eBook

For more book recommendations, follow the National Reading Movement Facebook or Instagram, or download the NLB Mobile app to explore on your own and download books for free.

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